From the NGC Archives: 1864 Two-Cent Piece with Small Motto

Posted on 10/16/2012

Americans were so desperate for hard money during the Civil War that even the lowly copper-nickel cents were hoarded.

Congress decided to replace them with lightweight cents of bronze in 1864, adding a similar two-cent piece at the same time to speed this transition to bronze.

The mintage of this first variety of two-cent piece, with its small letters in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST, is unrecorded. Walter Breen estimated that a few thousand business strikes were coined, in addition to just a handful of proofs. This variety has been rare from the outset, and generations of collectors have sought high grade examples. Featuring a sharp strike and lustrous surfaces, this charming coin is richly toned to pleasing chocolate brown, with flashes of mint red and iridescent colors around its borders.

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